On Jun 18, 2007, at 16:57 , Pat Hayes wrote:
On the whole, I suggest, it is probably better to
re-do ones own metaphysics from scratch than to
try to read through the history of philosophy and
sort out the very small fraction that may be
relevant. Just be aware of a few common mental
traps, such as not making the use/mention
confusion, and you should do OK.
Why recommend re-doing ones metaphysics from scratch at all when you yourself have argued that the whole enterprise of metaphysics is flawed? But let's say you want to go ahead and do that anyway -- make up your own metaphysics. You'd do that perhaps because it would help you get some work done. But then you'd be in a position where you'd have to acknowledge that some of your entities or principles are bona fide and some fiat -- introduced via the back door of your metaphysics. Now, which principles will you invoke to make that distinction and how does this help the next guy who wants to use your bona fide objects but not the fiat ones.
Regarding use/mention, you and I have had conversations where you have called that distinction into doubt, so you shouldn't be recommending it as a principle one should adopt to avoid "confusion". Prolog, for example, purposely blurs use/mention and quite successfully so.